Flat Earth believer reaches height of 572 meters in self-build rocket

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61-year-old American ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes has successfully launched his manned home-built rocket into the California desert. The proponent of the flat theory reached a height of 572 meters and returned to Earth without significant injury.

After several cancellations, Hughes succeeded in launching his rocket, with him as a passenger, into the Mojave Desert on Saturday. His steam-powered rocket reached a speed of 156 meters per second and an altitude of 572 meters, after which it started the descent and the parachute deployed.

The descent went faster than expected, so that the daredevil had to deploy a second parachute. Still, the rocket made a firm landing, breaking the nose and hitting Hughes hard, but making it out with only a sore back. “This thing is trying to kill you ten different ways,” the former limousine driver told the Associated Press.

The launch was almost canceled because the wind was blowing relatively hard and the air pressure of the rocket’s propulsion system was too low: 340psi, or 23bar, where 350psi, or 24bar, was needed for maximum propulsion.

Hughes built the rocket and launch pad for about $20,000 in his garage. For the propulsion, he used a steel vessel with 265 liters of water, which he heated to increase the pressure. At the bottom of the end steam provided the propulsion of the rocket.

“Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? Yes I believe so. Am I sure? No, that’s why I want to go into space,” he continued. Hughes is working on a new project called Rockoon. A balloon has to help a rocket into the atmosphere to reach a height of more than 100 kilometers from there.

Noize TV covered the launch.

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